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SOLVED

What is the technical and functional difference between a reference number and an ID? A reference number appears to be a shorter, numerical, unique ID for every project, task and subtask. An ID, has different attributes but also appears unique. True?

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Level 2

The #ID appears to be consistently longer than a #[reference number]. It appears to be a string of both numbers and letters. It also appears to be unique. I'm just confused why both exist and assume they are different functionally/technically in a way that is not being exposed to me in my current reporting structure. #Reporting‚ #Metadata‚ #[unique ID]

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1 Accepted Solution

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Correct answer by
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everything with a reference number, has an ID -- but everything with an ID doesn't necessarily have a reference number. For instance, my user profile has an ID, and no reference number. I think of the reference number as something that users (annoyingly) will refer to when they talk about an object they're working on. IDs are more or less on everything and long enough that people won't try and use them in everyday conversation.

As a side note: I've sometimes seen reports created to filter on reference numbers. This isn't wrong, strictly speaking, but it's also not "the done thing".

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3 Replies

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Correct answer by
Community Advisor

everything with a reference number, has an ID -- but everything with an ID doesn't necessarily have a reference number. For instance, my user profile has an ID, and no reference number. I think of the reference number as something that users (annoyingly) will refer to when they talk about an object they're working on. IDs are more or less on everything and long enough that people won't try and use them in everyday conversation.

As a side note: I've sometimes seen reports created to filter on reference numbers. This isn't wrong, strictly speaking, but it's also not "the done thing".

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Level 10

At my previous agency, we used the project reference number to build the Job number.

I don't know if my observation is 100% true but I think everything with a GUID has a corresponding "page" (that displays the GUID in the URL).

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Level 10

I was under the impression it was like this:

  • Reference numbers are unique identifiers in the vein of a tracking number, invoice number, etc. They are unique cross-object and apply to Projects and Tasks. So Projects and Tasks all share the same pool of unique numbers (no project can have the same number as a task). The numbers are normal integers/base-ten (0‚Äì9).
  • ID numbers are a commonly used way to abstract the name/label of an object from the object itself. Programmers do this alot and will reference IDs rather than the label since it makes it easier to programmatically deal with the objects. IDs ike this are generally using hexidecimal/base-16 (a‚Äìf, 0‚Äì9).

In Workfront:

  • If you are trying to uniquely identify a task or project, the Reference Number is the way to go. We use them directly as the project and task numbers (despite their length, don't get me started).
  • For me, the "ID" is an annoyance when dealing with things like User Name, Team Name, Group Name, etc. I wish "name" was the default when building reports, and not "ID" (which forces me into text mode far more often than it should). Not sure why WF exposes the "ID" to users at all, I don't feel like it's useful to building reports or anything outside of Kickstarts.